iron bowl food drive

 Reeltown Elementary had a change drive for Alabama and Auburn students to put spare coins to good use. The proceeds will benefit Lake Martin Area United Way.

Local schools are taking advantage of pitting Auburn and Alabama fans against each other to benefit the community.

Alexander City Middle School’s Junior Civitan group held a canned food drive where students could put cans in the Auburn or Alabama box. Auburn won with 157 cans to Alabama’s 107, according to Junior Civitan sponsor Matt Wilson. 

“We thought it would be a good idea for our Junior Civitan to benefit the (Tallapoosa Christian Crisis Center) and help families,” Wilson said. “(It’s important) because I believe to be a better school system and school is to have community involvement. So if we can help the community they can turn around and help us when needed.”

The Junior Civitan group will continue its service with ringing The Salvation Army bell outside of stores, according to Wilson.

Reeltown Elementary School gave Lake Martin Area United Way more than $100 from its change drive fundraiser. Auburn beat Alabama with double the amount of money, according to principal Ray Porter.

“We decided to do a change drive this time so (United Way) could use money and they could choose how the money be used,” Porter said. “Students bring in whatever change they have laying around the house pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters.”

Porter said the school has also partnered with local churches to identify families who may need financial help for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Horseshoe Bend’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and Future Farmers of America also held an Iron Bowl canned food donation drive and collected 2,441 cans. Auburn won by one can, according to FCCLA advisor Felicia Williams. 

Most of the proceeds will go to the crisis street and some will be given to Tallapoosa County Department of Human Resources because people have looked for food there in the past, according to Williams.  

“(The crisis center was) extremely thankful,” Williams said. “They told me most of their shelves were bare.”

The groups also divided the competition down to classrooms and Travis Spraggins’ class earned first place collecting more than 400 items. Spraggins’ class will have a pizza party while Jessica Hodnett’s second-place class and Danielle Queen’s third-place class will be served refreshments for making the top three, according to Williams.

“We even had some cans that came in after (the deadline Thursday),” Williams said. “This year FCCLA bought about 204 cans to try to help the people in our area. We don’t always do that. We’re usually the worker bees trying to put it together.”

Williams, an Auburn graduate, is cheering for the Tigers. She said she is proud and thankful for the community donating so much food.

“It’s important to teach our kids about community service and giving back to the community,” Williams said. “I think it teaches them a lot by doing this project.”

Stephens Elementary School’s Beta Club is finishing its Iron Bowl canned food drive today to benefit the crisis center. As of Monday afternoon, the school had 437 total cans and Alabama was winning with 271 cans.

Beta Club sponsor and Alabama alumna Abby Alexander said the food drive is a good way to for students to get interested in community service. 

“I took over Beta Club three years ago and I was looking for some community service that doesn’t take them out of the classroom,” Alexander said. “We used to do it in school too, so I remember doing it back when I was in school.”